CHRI – Iran’s judiciary has extended the detention of prominent human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, who is facing two national security charges for peacefully engaging in her profession.
“When her one-month detention order expired, they extended it for another month after a 10-day delay,” her husband Reza Khandan told the state-funded Iranian Students News Agency on July 30, 2018.
Sotoudeh, the legal counsel for at least two women who had been arrested in Iran for removing their hijabs in public, has been detained since June 13, 2018.
In addition to “assembly and collusion against national security,” she has also been charged with “propaganda against the state” for allegedly being a member of Legam, an Iranian organization opposed to the death penalty, according to Khandan.
Before her arrest, Sotoudeh and a group of other human rights lawyers in Iran had signed a letter criticizing the judiciary’s decision to restrict counsel for detainees facing politically motivated charges to a list of 20 state-approved lawyers.
In July 2018, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) sent a letter to Iran’s supreme leader calling for Sotoudeh’s immediate release.
“The IBAHRI calls on Your Excellency to ensure the immediate release of Ms. Sotoudeh, and to ensure that she is afforded the full protection of her due process rights in compliance with domestic and international standards,” said the July 10 letter addressing Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that was published on July 17.
“The IBAHRI further urges Your Excellency to take all possible measures to ensure that lawyers are allowed to carry out their legitimate professional activities without fear of intimidation, harassment or interference, in accordance with international human rights standards,” added the letter signed by the IBAHRI Co-Chairs Ambassador (ret.) Hans Corell United Nations Legal Counsel and Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, and the Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG, a former Australian High Court Justice.
Iran has a documented history of harassing and jailing lawyers who have taken on politically sensitive cases.
In 2010, Sotoudeh was sentenced to 11 years in prison for the charges of “acting against national security,” “collusion and propaganda against the regime,” and “membership in the Defenders of Human Rights Center.” An appeals court later reduced her sentence to six years in prison and she was granted early release in September 2013 after serving three years.
Well-known human rights lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani is currently serving a 13-year sentence in Evin Prison for peacefully practicing law in Iran.